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Durham's Geist mansion goes back to the bank at auction

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Lender JPMorgan Chase & Co. took possession of convicted Ponzi schemer Tim Durham’s Geist mansion Thursday after the property failed to draw an offer higher than the bank’s base bid of $2.24 million.

JPMorgan Chase, which holds a $4.5 million judgment on the home, made the bid prior to a sheriff’s sale that took place Thursday afternoon in Hamilton County. To acquire the property, a bidder would have been required to top the bank’s bid by at least $1 and pay in cash.

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office received several inquiries about the property prior to the auction, but nobody decided to bid after finding out how much it would take to win possession.

Durham is serving a 50-year federal prison sentence after being found guilty in 2012 of masterminding a $200 million Ponzi scheme. He is appealing that conviction.

The sheriff’s sale was the culmination of a foreclosure lawsuit that JPMorgan Chase filed against the disgraced businessman in 2010, months after Akron, Ohio-based Fair Finance Co. and the rest of Durham’s business empire collapsed.

The 10,700-square-foot home has seven bedrooms, eight full bathrooms, a 30-car garage, and multilevel decks overlooking a “resort-style pool” and Geist Reservoir. The 5-acre property had been listed at $5.5 million but was tough sell in today’s economy.

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  • High Bid
    Does the high bid include a master bedroom that comes complete with Carl Brizzi? Is he still living in that mansion? He used to live there.

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  1. I am not by any means judging whether this is a good or bad project. It's pretty simple, the developers are not showing a hardship or need for this economic incentive. It is a vacant field, the easiest for development, and the developer already has the money to invest $26 million for construction. If they can afford that, they can afford to pay property taxes just like the rest of the residents do. As well, an average of $15/hour is an absolute joke in terms of economic development. Get in high paying jobs and maybe there's a different story. But that's the problem with this ask, it is speculative and users are just not known.

  2. Shouldn't this be a museum

  3. I don't have a problem with higher taxes, since it is obvious that our city is not adequately funded. And Ballard doesn't want to admit it, but he has increased taxes indirectly by 1) selling assets and spending the money, 2) letting now private entities increase user fees which were previously capped, 3) by spending reserves, and 4) by heavy dependence on TIFs. At the end, these are all indirect tax increases since someone will eventually have to pay for them. It's mathematics. You put property tax caps ("tax cut"), but you don't cut expenditures (justifiably so), so you increase taxes indirectly.

  4. Marijuana is the safest natural drug grown. Addiction is never physical. Marijuana health benefits are far more reaching then synthesized drugs. Abbott, Lilly, and the thousands of others create poisons and label them as medication. There is no current manufactured drug on the market that does not pose immediate and long term threat to the human anatomy. Certainly the potency of marijuana has increased by hybrids and growing techniques. However, Alcohol has been proven to destroy more families, relationships, cause more deaths and injuries in addition to the damage done to the body. Many confrontations such as domestic violence and other crimes can be attributed to alcohol. The criminal activities and injustices that surround marijuana exists because it is illegal in much of the world. If legalized throughout the world you would see a dramatic decrease in such activities and a savings to many countries for legal prosecutions, incarceration etc in regards to marijuana. It indeed can create wealth for the government by collecting taxes, creating jobs, etc.... I personally do not partake. I do hope it is legalized throughout the world.

  5. Build the resevoir. If built this will provide jobs and a reason to visit Anderson. The city needs to do something to differentiate itself from other cities in the area. Kudos to people with vision that are backing this project.

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